News / Africa

IFAD Head Calls for People Investment

IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze visits a farmer in Kenya. Credit: IFAD
IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze visits a farmer in Kenya. Credit: IFAD

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
The head of the International Fund for Agricultural Development says Africa’s greatest resource is its people. He calls on leaders to heavily invest in their workforce or risk continent-wide poverty by 2030.
 
Listen to De Capua report on IFAD president
Listen to De Capua report on IFAD presidenti
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

Kanayo Nwanze’s comments come in an open letter to the 23rd AU Summit on Agriculture and Food Security. It’s being held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea through June 27.
 
He said, “Someone in my capacity, as an African as well, should be able to speak openly and frankly with our heads of state. I think it’s a moral obligation. It’s a moral imperative because I believe that Africa again is at the crossroads.”
 
He said that people are Africa’s best resource, including the 200 million between the ages of 15 and 24.
 
“Now that’s a very powerful resource base. And when you also realize that that population of 200 million young people – often times unemployed – if we waste their future it’s going to be a great loss for the continent. These are the future leaders of Africa. We have to give them hope. We have to give them something to look forward to. I think if we don’t sew the seeds for that hope now, we’re going to have a very explosive situation in the next decade.”
 
He said if African leaders don’t act now the continent will account for 80 percent of the world’s poor by 2030. A figure, he said, is supported by data from the World Bank and U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
 
“Africa is the only region in the world where the numbers of the poor have increased,” he said.
 
Nwanze called on African leaders to deliver development now – with the priority on rural people.
 
“Food does not grow in cities,” he said, “Food grows in rural areas. If you do not invest in the youth, particularly in the rural areas – if you do not make agriculture attractive to them – to create jobs – to generate wealth – to give them some sense of dignity – what is going to happen? They will continue to migrate from the rural areas to the urban cities. You end up with what you call the urban bulge.”
 
He warned that could lead to many disenchanted young people living in slums and susceptible to crime.
 
“When we talk about poverty, when we talk about inequality in Africa, it is basically an inequality between the rural and the urban space.”
 
More than 10 years ago, African leaders committed to the Maputo Declaration. It required that at least 10 percent of national budgets be devoted to agriculture and rural development. The IFAD president says only seven countries have fulfilled that commitment.
 
Nwanze said such investment is critical on a continent where “20 states are classified as fragile and 28 countries need food assistance.”
 
He had three recommendations for leaders at the AU Summit: Make investment in agriculture and rural development a priority, including infrastructure, energy and roads; second, invest in education, particularly of women; and third, provide social services.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs